Business to Business: What Is B2B? 

April 2, 2024

Table of Contents

With the advancement of technology, the lifestyle of human beings is constantly changing. Business is an integral part of our life and is exploring a new era within the past few years. Therefore, B2B, business-to-business, is an entirely new model that helps in the growth of the industry. There is no doubt that after introducing such a structure into the sector, each organization facilitated. In the beginning, certain companies applied this model and after their business report, almost every company started to follow it. Both in service and sales, this business-to-business structure helped company owners to earn profit. Be it financial settlement or providing other services a business-to-business structure seemed to be perfect.

There are a lot more things to know about business-to-business structure. Here we will discuss everything about b2b business and its impacts on pulling up the growth graph.

What is B2B?

When two different business entities work with each other i.e., serve one another and it will benefit parties then the way of earning profit is known as B2B. There are no limitations in using this structure. Thus, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers all can use this B2B model. Marketing experts have found a very affirmative explanation that leads to a positive business-to-business meaning. As per their observations, companies that implement this technique face the highest growth. The model can bring effectiveness to the supply part. When the supply and demand both advance hand in hand then business entities will face growth. Usually, entities that utilize this business-to-business model operate on a large scale.

Connectivity plays a key role in the growth of any business organization. Thus, it applies to the B2B structure also. But here the connectivity between two business entities takes place differently. The business-to-business structure utilizes connections of 2 employees of 2 different companies. For example, an employee of ABC company may have a connection with an employee of XYZ entity. Thus, these 2 employees can share their views about their companies. In this way both the employees can think about a better way to improve policies and internal growth.

This business-to-business helps to improve management by offering various plans to improve the conversation. While it is the key to any company, it becomes famous and business entities tend to use it. As the mode of conversation improves the relationship between client and employee also improves. This improvement of relation denotes a growth factor.

Various types of B2B Structure

There are various types of entities. It is quite natural that those entities may require some special type of business-to-business structure. As a result, the marketing experts have divided this model into several other types. However, many suppliers offer support to business entities. Advertisement and sales companies enjoy profit by following this structure. So, if you want to measure the area of its coverage then you will find a huge scope.

Nowadays the demand for online marketing is reigning over the entire business industry. Here are some models:

Hybrid Structure

Online marketing offers the best platform. All the types of business-to-business suit perfectly aspiring online marketers. While business-to-business denotes business services between two entities the idea is even approachable through the Internet. Generally, the application of B2B has become popular through internet business entities. With the advanced technology now, people have a hard time discovering new companies. But they can get a clear idea about a new company while they spend their leisure by surfing the internet. Therefore, companies that use structures tend to approach more clients.

At this point, one may easily answer if you ask what is business-to-business structure. So, now let us know different types of b-to-b structures in terms of consumer service and trading.

B2B Models based on Customer Service
Consumer-oriented Model
Purchaser Oriented
Intermediary Structure

Consumer-oriented Model 

For any business or company client plays an integral role. Almost every company gives value to its customers. Even if b to b means the transactions between two different companies they can hardly face growth without customers. This is because every company prepares its products for sale. Now, the action of sale can’t take place without the intervention of customers. In this business-to-business service model, each company pays similar attention to clients. Usually, after selling a product most companies fail to maintain a bond with their consumers. Even while the b2b full form hints at serving other companies this prototype also takes care of customers.

  • After selling a product to a client the relationship does not end there. Rather it is the duty of that company (involved in B2B) to take care of the existing customer.
  • Due to such gestures towards consumers both the business entities enjoy more growth. Because in the future that existing customer will refer his friend to his seller.
  • The scope of earning profit soon is more than another business-to-business service. Referring to a friend or even booking more services from a company hints at a stable income.
  • This business-to-business structure always works on customers’ faith. Without being loyal to its consumers a company hardly flourishes. On the other hand, from a consumer’s perspective, one wishes for a quality service.

Some e-commerce platforms that use the core idea of this structure are, Snapdeal, Amazon, Alibaba, etc. Although they are offering a scope to do business with dealers on the other they are keeping the trust of buyers.

Purchaser-Oriented Model 

Apart from the consumer-oriented structure the marketing experts also think about the wholesalers and retailers. The business-to-business model has also a prototype called the Purchaser-oriented model. It is directed toward business-to-business meaning that completely deals with wholesalers. Sometimes, retailers also play the role of buyers, and then they follow this structure. When a large manufacturing unit prepares bulk orders for its client then it must follow the Purchaser Model. Usually, these buyers like to build up the chain through websites. These buyers used to attract retailers or dealers by posting the product and details.

  • Both purchasers and sellers play an important role in this model. The business-to-business model works best through the internet i.e. online business. Thus, the practice of e-commerce came into existence. Through this structure, both the retailers and service providers contact the buyer.
  • Here the buyer fixes the rate of the product. However, sellers also can negotiate with the buyer. Generally, the sellers or service providers are used to make the buyer understand. They also list the number of benefits one can have by choosing sellers.
  • Lastly, it’s the decision of the purchaser who will finally place the order in exchange for money. Buyers may tally various sellers in terms of sales experience and conducting budget.

When it comes to business-to-business examples in the Purchaser Oriented structure then one name that came forth is Walmart. Being one of the global e-commerce business entities it inspires sellers without any hindrances. Here Walmart being a buyer helps sellers or retailers to offer services to its clients. Undoubtedly, the suppliers need to strictly follow all the norms of this e-commerce platform. This buyer has a strict price tagging policy, and the best bidder gets the offer from this platform.

Intermediary Oriented Structure

Apart from the above-mentioned ones, there is another prototype of the business-to-business model. On the scale of popularity, it surpasses the other 2 models because of its features. Through this model, both entities can solve their purposes and provide service to each other freely. There is a presence of an intermediary between two business entities. Here the intermediary is used to act like a bridge between two companies. In return both the companies used to pay that intermediary a certain amount of money.

  • It has been observed that sometimes the purchaser may lose a great deal. However, it is hardly possible for the organization to hire an intermediary to channel its money. The digital platform is full of various products and sellers. To find out the best deal among them sometimes becomes difficult.
  • An intermediary helps both the buying and selling business entity to have its best deal. It has a list of top buying and selling companies. As a result, it can meet the requirements of both parties. The e-commerce platform is the best example of this category.
  • The intermediary-oriented structure in B2B works as a 3rd party. It helps to get the best deal by keeping in mind the budget.

To give an example let’s look into a scenario. Mr. A wishes to buy a product. So, he started searching for various e-commerce websites like eBay, OLX, etc. On the other hand, these platforms have the contacts of many sellers who sell products through them. Whenever Mr. A checks such websites then he will find out various attractive deals.

Some B2B tertiary markets

Being a business entity, you may want to know how effectively this structure can operate in trading.  Because the term business-to-business means business-to-business transactions. There is a requirement for customer centricity as well as the growth of trading. To address the requirement of trading growth experts have introduced various other types. Every company involved in the model can choose any of the following as per their need.

B2B Structure based on Trading
Forthright Structure
Networking Model
Managerial Structure

Forthright Structure

By the term forthright you will get a sense of how the entire structure operates. As this segregation is completely focused on trading so here straight forward connection plays the main role. Instead of the intervention of any 3rd party, a seller converses with the buyer directly. All the paperwork works even if it’s done through the internet there is no question of intervention of 3rd party.

  • To implement a forthright structure both entities must have their IT team. Because the requirement of a technical specialist may be required at times. If any of the companies, then call other IT services then the purpose will remain unfulfilled.
  • In this specific type, both entities like to maintain all transactions confidential. They avoid the information to be shared with anyone else except the company they are dealing with.

The forthright structure in the business-to-business model usually operates with an expanded community. Achieving this community structure takes time. But when the expanded community is built up then spontaneous monitoring needs to be run. It improves the interaction between two companies and brings growth to sales.

Networking Structure

Here networking does not mean expanding connections. Rather the intent of this prototype of business-to-business is completely different. Business entities feel the requirement of this structure when the forthright structure fails. Companies that follow a forthright structure might face difficulties. As a result, they might require some other alternative. A Networking structure comes into place when companies feel they require a 3rd party.

  • The network added here is the Value Added Network (VAN). This type of networking service fulfils every single requirement. Before the introduction of the internet facility, such VAN providers captured the market. However, it has become a practice now, and still, lots of companies are using the protocols.
  • While connectivity is the key, a networking structure establishes the best possible connection. Here the service provider offers strong connectivity to the company and mentions one protocol. All the employees of that company must adhere to this protocol.
  • Some of the protocols are, VPN, SFTP, FTP, etc. While trading is the ultimate goal the purchasers must follow the applicable protocols.

Hybrid Structure

The term hybrid clearly defines that it is a combination of two different factors. When networking and forthright structure juxtapose then it comes into existence. Therefore, for witnessing effective business-to-business results there is no exception for the hybrid model. Marketing experts observed that to increase sales both companies need to spend a huge amount of money. As a result, this type of business model seems to be expensive for some start-up owners. To curtail the expenses Hybrid structure fits the best.

  • The hybrid mode helps companies to save money. It becomes possible because through this structure an entity can establish a direct connection with the buyer or seller. This direct interaction helps to reduce expenses.
  • After the introduction of the internet, this direct communication becomes easy. Instead of using the intranet now, entities can use the benefits of the internet. The speed of the internet finishes bulk transactions within a short period.
  • In this way, a company using the business-to-business structure can minimize the number of trading peers. A minimum number of peers leads to low expenses.

Managerial Structure

Any business service must adhere to certain procedures. The Managerial structure of business-to-business deals with those procedures. By applying this prototype both the entities can explore a platform. This is nothing but a stage where companies may post their requirements. When they find potential resources, they can outsource. A managerial structure will offer you a minimal workforce but ensure quality output.

  • The main benefit of using this structure is a minimal expense. If a business entity wants, it can drive out all the extra costs. Besides, the process becomes simpler so that employees can easily follow them up.
  • The usage of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)system also takes place in this structure. All the important business updates are sent and received through this software. It plays the role of a medium for sending electronic documents.
  • The Managerial structure covers all the possible business requirements. Such as translating encoded data, operational structure, reconstructing maps, offering support, etc.
  • In this structure, the managerial figure is used to send all the electronic documents. But it keeps both companies in between to keep them updated at every moment.

All the above types help business entities to operate their trading culture flawlessly. You may easily witness the success rate of those entities that are mentioned in business-to-business. So, being the owner of a company if you want to make a profit then start implementing any of these structures.

B2B and Commerce

Many people often question what business-to-business commerce is or what role it plays in e-commerce. Before jumping into the relationship between commerce and business-to-business, the idea of commerce should be clear. The word commerce denotes commercial dealings. Being one of the most important parts of any society it stables the financial structure. Without the presence of commercial transactions, a civilization hardly can face success. So, when we are discussing business-to-business, then automatically it brings the idea of commerce.

When a business transaction takes place without the intervention of the Internet then it falls under commerce. But with advanced technology internet has replaced offline business transactions. When the entire business transaction is completed through the Internet then it falls under e-commerce.

What is business-to-business commerce?

By reading the definition of commerce it is quite clear how it operates. But when the word business-to-business is added before commerce then the explanation changes a bit. Let’s assume you are an individual buyer, and you are buying a product from a shop. Here also a commercial transaction takes place.

Now, instead of an individual buyer when a company places bulk orders to another company then business-to-business commerce takes place. The b2b full form is business to business. When a relationship is established between two entities then business-to-business commerce meaning becomes clear.

What is B2B e-commerce?

The idea of a business-to-business trading strategy suits the best e-commerce. One possible reason behind this is the best exposure to global trade. In the case of e-commerce, all business moves have been taken through the Internet. So, business-to-business is a type of eCommerce that stands for online trading culture. In proper words, e-commerce and business-to-business model complements each other.

Nowadays, the ideology of e-commerce is widespread. All around the globe e-commerce is ruling. Some notable reasons for its high popularity are,

  • Consumers can easily find the best sellers. They need not waste time by visiting physical shops. The ease of shopping as per consumers’ own time makes it the best platform.
  • Both the buyers and sellers in the business-to-business model can find out the most profitable deal. It makes the task of the sales team easy to make the potential deal.
  • The business entities can compare the quotations of different companies easily. It brings transparency between the two companies. Moreover, the expense related to the broker’s charge is also minimized.
  • Fast and efficient services. If the idea of what is business-to-business e-commerce is clear, then you can imagine the speed and efficiency it can serve.
  • Earn high profit out of business. For this reason, business-to-business has become famous. Due to the high visibility on global platforms entities engaged with this model earn high profits. Thus, the main priority of any organization is solved.

All of these are the advantages for which e-commerce and business-to-business are advancing commercial transactions up to another level. If you look at the statistics for the last few years, then it will become clear. The graph of the companies using this model faced an unexpected rise. Besides, they are also able to cut off additional expenses. Improved service quality plays an important role in satisfying consumers.

Benefits of the B2B Business Model

The number of advantages the business-to-business model offers is truly commendable. This trading strategy brings a new era into the commercial sector. Experts hope that the advancement of technology will benefit the entire industry to a great extent. Moreover, business-to-business is a type of eCommerce that stands for fast and inexpensive services. On that note, business-to-business-to-business e-commerce serves the purpose of every entity. Some of the benefits of this business structure include,

It helps to curtail costs

Every business entity would like to curtail the cost. Instead, they want to keep the highest margin possible. But the entire idea seems to be impossible. For this reason, most business entities compromise the profit margin. The business-to-business model drives out the thought of compromise as it offers many techniques. Entities that follow the business-to-business model claim lower expenses and high income due to the usage of automation. The invention of automation drives out the workforce demand and completes the task with due diligence.

Sales growth

E-commerce offers a global trading platform that not only offers a seller great exposure but also consumers. The growth of any company mostly depends upon sales and new consumer acquisitions. If a company has a large customer chain, then it is likely to have positive sales growth. When a company gets global exposure then its customer base will also increase. Thus, the business-to-business model suits best those companies that are suffering from a low customer base. Besides, when a seller advertises his company’s product through e-commerce then he may fix the proper price.

No scope for losing data

The answer is – a type of trading that generates good profit and offers consumer-centricity at the same time. This is the first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about this business model. However preserving data plays an integral role in running a business for the long term. It has such a design that fully concentrates on data to run the process without any hassle. As a result, analyzing bulk data seems possible. Data analysis plays an important role in the business-to-business model because only then one can trace the growth factor. Here the chance of losing data is very low because most companies use ERP software. All the data remains within the software and for this reason, finding out 2 years old data does not seem tiresome.

Straightway approach to buyers

Less intervention from 3rd party makes the entire experience for both sellers and buyers. There is no additional broker fee and even no chance of misleading quotation. The usage of a forthright structure brings complete transparency to business-to-business e-commerce. Moreover, companies involved in business-to-business get the scope to design their product catalogue. In this way with less dependency, they can attract their target consumers. Here digital marketing plays a valuable role in attracting the target consumer group.

Get a global exposure

There is no doubt that any e-commerce platform offers global exposure to sellers. When your company is involved in business-to-business then choosing e-commerce is the best option. Because when your company gets familiar with the business-to-business model then it is time for global exposure. To gain a hold on the foreign market there is no exception for e-commerce. As a result, the sales team grows and with sales, the company will face a sound amount of profit. Besides, global exposure adds extra value to the brand of the company.

Easy to predict the future

By reading business-to-business meaning and examples one can make out how rapid growth the model can offer. Even the examples are the burning truth of how successful those entities are present. The business-to-business model operates in such a way that the engaged business entities can witness a good profit margin. Besides, the number of new consumers and the way of capturing the market easily hint at upcoming success. While it is easy to analyze the rate of success shortly this is also true that experts can foretell upcoming market crashes. The business-to-business model is designed in such a way if success can’t be witnessed then it hints at failure. By analyzing the records of trading marketing experts can predict the future.

All these are some advantages of implementing a business-to-business structure in any company. Even a start-up owner can operate sales with the help of it and by using e-commerce. Some e-commerce business-to-business examples include,

10 business-to-business examples:

Linked In
Snap cap

These entities are business-to-business examples that clearly show how this model helps in growth. All the above-mentioned business entities are now top companies that are operating globally. Apart from earning high profit margins, those companies have made their position remarkable. Besides, companies that follow the business-to-business model witness a huge amount of revenue.  After the introduction of the e-commerce platform, even the expense becomes less than before.

How does the B2B business model work?

Business-to-business (B2B) models facilitate transactions between two different business entities, providing mutual benefits to both parties. Here’s how B2B Business models operate:

1) Identification of Business Needs: B2B begin with one business identifying a need for products or services that another business can provide. This can range from raw materials for manufacturing to specialized services.

2) Search and Selection Process: The buyer business then conducts research to identify potential suppliers or service providers that can fulfil their requirements. This process may involve comparing prices, quality, reliability, and other factors.

3) Negotiating and Contracting: Once suitable service providers are identified, the buyer starts negotiations to finalize terms and conditions, including pricing, delivery schedules, payment terms, etc.

4) Order Placement and Fulfillment: After reaching an agreement, the buyer places orders with the selected supplier or service provider. The supplier then fulfils these orders within a specified timeframe.

5) Payment and Invoicing: Upon receipt of the products or services, the buyer makes payments to the supplier as per the payment terms.

6) Post-Sale Support and Relationship Management: B2B transactions often involve ongoing relationships between buyers and sellers. Suppliers may provide post-sale support, such as maintenance services or technical assistance to ensure long-term relationships.

7) Evaluation and Feedback: Both parties should evaluate the performance of the business relationship, providing feedback to each other for continuous improvement.

Challenges in Managing a Business-to-business (B2B) Company

Running a B2B business involves several challenges that require careful management and planning. Some of the key challenges are:

1) Complex Sales Cycles: B2B sales sometimes involve complex sales cycle compared to business-to-consumer (B2C). This complexity may stem from the need to navigate multiple decision-makers, address specific business needs, and overcome issues in the sales process.

2) Customer Relationship Management: Building and maintaining strong relationships with B2B customers is essential for long-term success. However, managing these relationships can be challenging, especially when dealing with diverse customer needs, and communication.

3) Customization and Personalization: Delivering personalized products or services while maintaining operational efficiency and scalability can pose significant challenges for B2B.

4) Supply Chain Management: B2B companies managing complex supply chains involve multiple suppliers, distributors, and risk management strategies.

5) Market Dynamics and Competition: B2B markets are often highly competitive. Keeping abreast of market dynamics, competitor strategies, and emerging trends is crucial for staying competitive in the B2B space.

6) Technological Advancements: Rapid technological advancements, such as digitalization, automation, and data analytics, are transforming the B2B landscape. Using technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive innovation is essential for B2B companies.

7) Regulatory Compliance: B2B companies must navigate various regulatory requirements and industry standards.

How Business-to-Business (B2B) Selling Differs from Business-to-Consumer (B2C)?

Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) selling involve commercial transactions, and they differ in several ways:

1) Target Audience: B2B selling targets other businesses as customers, whereas B2C selling targets individual consumers.

2) Purchase Volume: B2B involves larger purchase volumes and higher transaction values compared to B2C transactions.

3) Decision Making: B2B purchases require input from multiple decision-makers within the buying organization, whereas B2C purchases are usually made by individual consumers based on personal preferences and needs.

4) Relationship Duration: B2B relationships tend to be long-term and ongoing, with recurring purchases and continuous engagement, whereas B2C transactions are often one-off.

5) Sales Cycle Length: B2B sales cycles are longer and more complex, involving multiple stages of negotiation, customization, and contract finalization, whereas B2C sales cycles are usually shorter and more straightforward.

6) Marketing Approach: B2B marketing focuses on demonstrating value, solving business problems, and building trust through educational content and targeted communication channels, whereas B2C marketing focuses on emotional appeal, brand awareness, and buying triggers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What does the term B2B means?

Ans: B2B means business to business. It is a type of business model.

Q.2 What is a business-to-business company example?

Ans: The business-to-business example denotes the name of those companies that have already implemented this model. For example, Facebook, Linked In, Skype, etc.

Q.3 What are B2B and B2C?

Ans: B2B means a business transaction between 2 different companies. B2C denotes business transactions between a company and an individual customer.

Q.4 What are the 4 types of business-to-business?

Ans: There is a total of 4 types of business-to-business. These are, Forthright, Networking, Hybrid, and Managerial.

Q.5 Is Amazon a B2B or B2C?

Ans: Amazon is a business-to-business entity.

Q.6 What is a B2B marketing example?

Ans: Different companies may choose different marketing methods. Business-to-business marketing takes place through an e-commerce platform.

Q.7 What does B2B mean in sales?

Ans: The b2b commerce meaning hints at the usage of the ideology of business-to-business in a commercial transaction. The commercial transaction involves 2 different business entities. So, it plays a vital role in every sale of a company.

Q.8 What is B2C business?

Ans: Business to Customer business is a trading transaction between a company and a consumer.

Q.9 What do B2B companies do?

Ans: business-to-business companies serve each other. Here one company becomes the buyer and the other company becomes the seller.

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